Practice Relating to Rule 37. Open Towns and Non-Defended Localities
China’s Law Governing the Trial of War Criminals (1946) provides that “deliberate bombing of non-defended areas” constitutes a war crime.
During the Korean War, the Chinese Government blamed US forces for the bombardment of undefended areas. In a statement before the 18th International Conference of the Red Cross in Toronto in 1952, the head of the Chinese delegation denounced the fact that “undefended cities and villages were wantonly bombarded” and “a large number of peaceful civilians killed”.
The Report on the Practice of China states that an occupying power shall not damage or destroy a city and its facilities in case of enemy withdrawal from the occupied territory, the reason being that the city is then, in fact, undefended.